Bailey's reponses to critics

This Bailey-Blanchard-Lawrence clearinghouse was created in response to the 2003 publication of The Man Who Would Be Queen by J. Michael Bailey. Many consider this the most defamatory book on transsexualism since 1979. Bailey's responses to the outpouring of criticism of this book echo a pattern seen in his earlier responses to critics.

Primary online discussion of this issue:

How J. Michael Bailey responds to critics by Professor Lynn Conway.

On the science of bonerism and the identity politics of "single heterosexual men"

Below are some addtional comments from Bailey that have appeared in the press since the book came out.

Statement from J. Michael Bailey

I have written a book that I knew would be controversial for several very different reasons. For example, I argue that extreme femininity in men is tightly linked with homosexuality; that it is likely to have a biological cause; that many stereotypes about gay men are true. These assertions are based on the best available scientific data, summarized in my book.

But I knew that the most controversial section would be the third, on transsexualism. In this section I review the evidence, which I believe is convincing, that there are two (and most likely only two) types of male-to-female transsexuals. One is the type that most people think about, comprised of males who have been overtly feminine from birth and who are unambiguously and strongly attracted to men. The other type has been unknown (or perhaps more accurately, misunderstood) by almost everyone until recently.

This type is motivated something akin to a sexual fetish, and it is the image of themselves as women. That is, these are males who fantasize sexually about wearing women's clothes, having female anatomy, and doing feminine things. Some of them want to become women so badly that they do so.

My book has provoked a fierce negative reaction among some transsexuals.

This reaction was predictable, but the controversy is too complicated to do justice to in the "reviews" section of Amazon. These hostile critics do not want you to read my book. You can only understand the controversy-and you can only understand transsexualism-if you do read it.

Other transsexuals have experienced satisfying self discovery and peace of mind after reading my account, which suddenly made their predicaments comprehensible to them. transgender people looking for answers, especially, should take the intellectual risk.


A reader writes on 28 April 2003:

This discussion about Michael Bailey's book is taking place on the "Gay and Lesbian University Union" listserver at Northwestern. I thought I'd forward Bailey's response to you. It's obvious he has some serious bigotry problems --- he seems to think that anyone who has problems with his pathologizing and dehumanizing taxonomy is just an "irate transsexual" of a particular "type".

From: Gerulf Rieger <>
Date: Mon Apr 28, 2003 10:36:08 AM US/Central
Subject: Dr. Bailey's reply: Prof. Michael Bailey's lecture lacks sensitivity...

Here is a message from Professor Bailey, my advisor.

Background: Roughgarden is a transsexual woman (who used to be a man), who is part of a group (I think a small one) who is extremely angry with me about my recent book, The Man Who Would Be Queen. For examples of vitriol (to the extent that one put dirty captions under pictures of my children) see:

The main complaint is that I do not believe that all transsexuals are "women trapped in men's bodies" but instead, believe the scientific evidence that one type of male-to-female transsexual is, prior to transition, a man with a sexual obsession for being a woman. The other type can be conceived of as an extremely feminine type of gay man. I explain in the book why the first type of transsexual tends to be very threatened by this explanation of their behavior. I posted on this before here, so instead of doing so again, I refer interested people to a website where they can read the book: (available to read for free at)

The second section, on homosexuality, is what I lectured about at Stanford. The third section is the one that has Roughgarden mad. The transsexuals have been writing everyone possibly affiliated with the book, from the publisher (and someone in the upper echelon has a wife who is good friends with one Lynn Conway--see negative review #1 above--and this resulted in the book being taken off the publisher's website for nearly 24 hours) to people who wrote positive blurbs on the cover (Steven Pinker and David Buss, for example) to my colleagues. I don't have time for individual responses to irate transsexuals, so I'm writing something for my webpage.

Mike Bailey

Statement from Mike Bailey (posted on his website mid-May 2003)